Woori 2022

The Woori festival is an opportunity to showcase intergenerational indigenous knowledge and interventions that have occurred within the fields of weaving and pottery.

The Festival

In 2019, a mysterious flu-like disease broke out in Wuhan, China. A few months later, the World Health Organisation declared the disease a pandemic. This event would change the way we interact with one another. How do we encounter one another in a time like this? How do we co-produce?

To encounter, from the 13th century old French encontrer, means to ‘meet, come across, confront, fight, or oppose’. From the 12th century, encontre means ‘a meeting, a fight, or an opportunity.’ The etymology from the French language implies physicality. How do we conceive encounters in a lockdown and social distancing-stricken pandemic world?

Digital platforms have become one of the ways that we have encountered one another. Last year, Nubuke Foundation and Assemble UK (with support from the British Council) initiated a digital collaboration between weavers in the Upper West region and contemporary designers. The resultant fabrics are showing in the main exhibition of the festival.

2022 Artists
Following the tradition of festivals in Ghana as sites for commemoration, celebration, and community strengthening and development, Nubuke Foundation conceptualised the WOORI festival.

It is an opportunity to showcase intergenerational indigenous knowledge and interventions within the fields of weaving and pottery and to invite conversations, contributions, and interactions deliberately.

Doing this will lead to increased understanding and transformation of textile weaving and clay moulding tradition in the Upper West region of Ghana.

Tei Huagie
Ransford Anane
Billie Mcternan
Alice Raymond
Edward Lamptey
Edinam Boni Mississo
Halimatu Iddrisu
Seyram Agleze
Gideon Hanyame

The festival shows performative, process and participatory contributions using artistic, historical, literary, cultural and scientific interventions. Inspired by the biennial format for exhibition-making, the festival attempts local, regional and international participation and blends with other exhibitory forms. Even though most festival shows, events and meetings occur at the Nubuke Foundation Center for Clay & Textiles in Loho, the curatorial framework conceives already existing sites like the Wa Naa Palace and the tomb of Gold Coast colonial officer, treaty maker, cartographer and road builder George Ekem Ferguson (c. 1865-1897) as quarters of the festival. It also allows durational sites to be created.

The curatorial framework is an homage to the storied life of Wa, both as a setting and protagonist. This allows for global connections to be made and epistemological frames to be shifted. The global and the local are placed side by side, different artistic practices are on parallel ropes, and the lines between the lived and the performed are blurred. In this adaptable framework, the exhibition site is extended online with streaming and online-only events.

For the main exhibition, a list of intergenerational artists is showing. The oldest artist, Edward Lamptey, born in 1957, is a batik artist, textile designer, and painter. A selection of works included in the festival flattens the idea of masks from traditional African societies. His works are juxtaposed with those of Ransford Anane, a younger artist whose works experiment with standard batik dye-and-dye processes. He then transforms the fabrics from flat surfaces to various forms.

Halimatu Iddrisu draws on her Islamic background to superimpose women figurations on hijabs, prayer mats and other textiles using dye, pastel, chalk, paint, lele, and henna.

Gideon Hanyame uses collage, dyeing, stitching, and loose embroidery to transform sieves, water filters, and plant fibers into billboard-writing banner inspired sculptures in outdoor spaces. Tei Huagie is a sculptor, painter and cloth designer whose metal sculpture takes the form of a human head. He uses aluminum sheets like he would as a textile designer. The elongated feature of the human face has previously appeared in his paintings. It is also a style that he picked up as an apprentice of the Ghanaian modernist master Amon Kotei (24 May 1915 – 17 October 2011). Alice Raymond collaborates with strip weavers in the Greater Accra region to explore woven strips as a potential drawing line or a spatial trajectory. 

Lastly, Seyram Agbleze creates figurative collages on fabrics. He takes inspiration from Asafo Flags, Kente, and Abomey appliqué and sources his fabrics from weavers in the Volta region of Ghana.

Art Talk

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Nubuke Foundation, Wa 2024